More help needed for dementia patients

IF WE judge society on the way we treat its most vulnerable members, then Mary Stevens's sad story should sadden everyone.Mary suffers from dementia and needs constant care, but she has been abandoned by the welfare state and her family is now left with the difficult job of looking after her.

IF WE judge society on the way we treat its most vulnerable members, then Mary Stevens's sad story should sadden everyone.

Mary suffers from dementia and needs constant care, but she has been abandoned by the welfare state and her family is now left with the difficult job of looking after her.

The story shows in graphic detail the problems faced by people caring for loved ones with chronic diseases for which there is no cure.

This is where the NHS and the welfare state struggles to cope. If you are in a road accident or suffer from a heart attack then the care you get is wonderful . . . and your chances of survival are much better than they were only 10 years ago.


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But for people with dementia, a condition for which there is no “cure,” the outlook is more bleak.

Their care can fall between different caring agencies - the NHS, the county council's social services department, and the voluntary sector.

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And that can leave people like Mary and her family falling through the system, effectively getting none of the help they really do deserve.

As more people live longer, society has to be prepared to spend more time looking after people with dementia. It is a disease that is bound to affect more and more people . . . and families.

The good news is that research into this dreadful condition is bringing major improvements - and there is hope that in a generation there could be drugs to stop the condition in its tracks.

But that does not help people like Mary and her family who are suffering now - and they deserve help and support from the authorities if we are truly to be able to say we live in a welfare state.

VIRTUALLY everyone who goes to London from East Anglia passes through Liverpool Street station. It is familiar to millions - yet most of us can't wait to get through the place!

However Britain's busiest station handles twice as many passengers as Heathrow, and whatever we might think of the rail service it is a logistic triumph to move so many people every day of the week.

These days the station is much more than just a few platforms for people heading in and out of the capital.

As anyone who has arrived early at the station for their train will know, it is now a shopping mall in its own right as well where you can buy everything from a CD to a Cornish Pasty for your journey or a Marks and Spencer meal to heat up when you get home.

To keep it operating smoothly is a major operation - and one we are pleased to highlight in our series of features.

HOWEVER good the safety record and the precautions taken, it takes a great deal of courage to launch yourself off the side of the maternity block at Ipswich Hospital for charity.

So everyone who took part in the fund-raising event at the weekend deserves congratulations.

More than a million pounds has been raised for charity over the last 11 years - what a great way to raise money and get a massive adrenaline rush at the same time!

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